Cleary finally gets his man after years of pursuing
Ivan Cleary has finally got his man.
Former Cronulla backrower Kurt Capewell is headed to Penrith after signing a two-year deal.
And it's a signature Cleary has wanted for several years, having previously chased the rangy ball-runner when he was the coach of the Wests Tigers.
"Ivan has always shown interest in me, so I'm excited to be able to finally be working under his guidance,'' Capewell said.
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"I'm very excited to be joining the Panthers for the next two years.
"They've got a great coaching staff which I think will help me develop my game.''
A member of the Queensland Maroons extended train-on squad this year, Capewell was squeezed out of the Sharks after bombing out of the 2019 finals due to the club's salary cap restraints.
St George-Illawarra were also eager to lure Capewell but were unable to orchestrate a deal in time for the 26-year-old, who was keen to commence pre-season training immediately at his new club, after spending the past five weeks in career limbo.
In an indication of his focus to leave an impression and excel at Penrith, Capewell said he would uproot from his Sutherland Shire base and move to the foot of the mountains.
"I'm at Penrith now looking for houses before I start training on Tuesday.''
The Charleville junior wants to break into the Maroons Origin side in 2020 and during his meeting with the Panthers coaching staff he was told how - with their support and promising roster - they believe they can help aid his chances.
In 2020, he will challenge Isaah Yeo and Viliame Kikau for the Penrith backrow positions.
A valuable recruit for any club, Capewell has shown in his 64 NRL appearances over four seasons at the Sharks how dependable he can be with the ability to play wing, centre, in the forwards or as a utility from the bench.
Filling in for more than half of this season in the left backrow position for an injured Wade Graham, Capewell finished 2019 with 25 matches for the Sharks.
Ironically, from a list of players yet to find a club for next season, Penrith legend Mark Geyer recently rated Capewell as the most valuable recruit on the open market.